Nowadays, gaining access to the criminal records of people is a fairly easy process. This is because firms and individuals can easily request for information from a number of sources that provide them. However, the process is not very simple when it comes to gaining access to juvenile criminal records. One reason for this is that the criminal records that are maintained by both state and federal entities that they open to the public are records of adults. In addition to this, the laws concerning juvenile criminal cases significantly limits access to these kinds of records as a way of protecting a young person's welfare given that juvenile criminal cases are treated differently by the justice system.
How juvenile criminal cases are treated by the justice system
The criminal process that is followed in juvenile criminal cases is not the same with the process that is followed when the accused is an adult. This is primarily because in juvenile criminal cases, the juvenile is charged with being delinquent or engaging in delinquent behavior rather than being charged for a specific crime. In addition to this, these kinds of cases are tried in a juvenile court wherein a court judge would sentence the delinquent with the aim of rehabilitating the juvenile. Another major difference is that juveniles do not have the right to a trial by jury. However, if a juvenile is accused of committing a serious crime such as murder, the District Attorney, with the permission of the judge can try the juvenile as an adult.
What happens to their records?
As a rule, all juvenile records are supposedly to be closed and confidential at the court's discretion and it is also solely dependent on the court if these records would be expunged or destroyed. However, the common practice with regard to destroying juvenile records across different states is that when the juvenile reach legal age, the court would order the records destroyed. Given this, access to these records is very limited and lawyers who may want to look at the juvenile record of an accused would have to prove that it has direct relationship with the crime that an adult person is accused of doing.
Unlike with the criminal records of adults, obtaining access to juvenile criminal records can be a very difficult process. This is because of the different way juvenile cases are treated by the justice system, which is aimed at protecting the welfare of the juvenile. In addition to this, there are strict laws that also protect these records from being accessed, which also adds to the difficulty of gaining access to juvenile criminal records.